I studied economics and made it my career for two reasons. The subject was and is intellectually fascinating and challenging, particularly to someone with taste and talent for theoretical reasoning and quantitative analysis. At the same time it offered the hope, as it still does, that improved understanding could better the lot of mankind. For me, growing up in the 1930s, the two motivations powerfully reinforced each other. The miserable failures of capitalist economies in the Great Depression were root causes of worldwide social and political disasters. The depression also spelled crisis for an economic orthodoxy unable either to explain events or prescribe remedies. The crisis triggered a fertile period of scientific ferment and revolution in economic theory. The excitement reached beginning undergraduate students like myself. In 1936, at the start of my sophomore year, a young tutor at Harvard College, Spencer Pollard, suggested we read together a new book by an English economist, J.M. Keynes, and I was hooked.
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